INTRODUCTION (Mark Shepherd - FUTURE)

My name is Mark Shepherd and like all members of Rennlist'ers we all share one thing in common... We all love CARS!!! Well everything PORSCHE for that matter and I'm no exception to that rule. My story is a little different to most as my love affair with cars started at the age of twelve on Valentines day to be exact (14th February 1987)... This day was to change my life, for better or for the worst I'm still trying to figure that one out myself!

At 19.30 on the 14th of February 1987 I was heading home. We had spent the evening after school in a local car park skateboarding as most did back then. After saying goodbye to my friends, I proceeded to make my home. After leaving the local car park where we had been doing all that 12 year old kids do I came to a crossing on the main road. I waited for the lights to change to RED so I could make my way across the road but what happened next was like something out of a TV drama script. I stepping out into the road I was suddenly hit by a midnight blue 1988 TVR S1. I remembered everything from going through the front windscreen and exiting through the tiny plastic window of the convertible followed by landing on a white Volvo travelling behind. The Volvo drive then slammed on his brakes which sent me flying onto the road. It was later confirmed that I had been hit at a speed in excess of 40mph.

I was lying half on the road and half on the pavement (side walk) looking up watching the world spin around me. Seconds later an hysteric woman came running up to me shouting "Look what the [email protected]%K you've done to my car... It's a [email protected]%King right off!!!"

Well I didn't know what to do... All I wanted was go home. I attempted to stand up (head still spinning) and that was when I realised that something was wrong… seriously wrong! I tried to get to my feet, left leg first followed by the right. I was standing up with my head still spinning and I felt faint. I stepped forward and crash, I hit the floor – That was when the pain started.

Seconds later an ambulance arrived. It seamed like the whole of the world was looking down at me and I felt so small. The lady driver of the TVR that ran me over was still shouting at me and I started to laugh!!! I could not contain myself… Have you ever been in that much pain that you start to laugh – apparently it’s when the adrenalin kicks in… I just kept laughing. The ambulance crew were soon on me like a bad rash… “Take a breath on this… It won’t hurt… You’re in safe hands now” they kept saying to me, but I wanted to go home! I tried again to get to my feet when I collapsed again. The next thing I remember was waking up in hospital two months later with tubes, pipes and monitors beeping around me not knowing where I was, let alone who I was.

Well to cut a long story short I fully recovered, all be it some 12 months later. I suffered a fractured skull, broken leg… well more like completely shattered and eight broken ribs plus some other major scaring including a cut right through to the bone on the side of my chin some 8cm long.

the court case started some two years later and that was when I first sore pictures of the 1988 TVR S1 that ran me over and that was when I fell in love with cars. Can you believe it… The woman driving that very TVR was a nurse!!! I still can’t to this very day.

Well I won my court battle and was awarded £8,400.00 as compensation being a minor (under 18). If I had been over eighteen and working I would have received about £250,000.00 compensation but that’s life (hell I could have brought a used Carrera GT in today's money).

The TVR fascinated me and when I reached the age of eighteen and was of a legal age to claim the monies owned to me… What did I do… I purchased a TVR 350i (wedge) as I’d grown so fond of TVR’s.

MY FIRST CARS

Well I felt like a millionaire at the age of 18. This was the age when I passed my driving licence and also gained access to my compensation. So I was in the market for a car and there was only one marquee I had in mind!

So it was to be … My fist car was a TVR but not the same model that ran me over back in 1987. I purchased the TVR 350i V8 from my boss when I worked for a company called Excel Publishing as a production assistant designing adverts for magazines that the company published. He owned a 1987 red TVR 350i (wedge) and I fell in love.

The monies were quickly exchanged and I paid £5,200.00 for the car which had a some what suspect history of accidents. My new TVR 350i was red in body colour with a black mohair convertible roof and light grey full leather interior and oh did I love it.

I was known as the ‘drift king’ amongst my friends as I used to power slide the car at every given opportunity or should I say every corner. Power over-steer or lift-off over-steer  was what I lived for and only rear wheel drive cars could provide me with this mad drug induced rush – Me and rear wheel drive cars were just meant to be.

The dream was short lived and on the 14th of July 1996 I was involved in a 90mph crash in that very TVR 350i.

Myself and a friend of mine called Jazfinder who was the passenger on the day were on the way to a TVR show namely TVR Mania 1996. The show was some 120 miles from my home and provided some excellent driving on the way there but this was soon to be sort lived. We rounded a sweeping bend traveling at 90mph only to be greeted with a tractor which pulled out in front of us. It was 7.00am on a Sunday morning and we had not seen a car on the road in ages but fait was to take over. I saw the farmers tractor and hit the brakes but was greeted with serious break fade… My car just would not slow down! So what do I do – Hit the tractor full on in the rear or overtake it… I decided to overtake the slow moving 20mph tractor at the last second but as you say in the US “SHIT HAPPENS”.

I pulled out to overtake as this was my only option whilst still braking but an oncoming white BMW 318i E30 was to seal my fait!

What do I do… Hit the back of the tractor at 90mph or have a head on collision with the white BMW 318i E30??? Well I hatched an alternative plan!

It’s funny but when faced with the prospects of a crash everything seams to go in slow motion. From the time of seeing the tractor, then looking at my friend and then seeing the oncoming BMW seemed like a lifetime, but I had to react! I thought about all the possibilities and decided I had the right decisive decision. Rather than going into the back of the tractor or have a head-on crash with the BMW I decided to go in between the two. I knew I was going to hit something as the road was so narrow and opted for the tractor’s tire…

Life or death… What would be of my stupid act! I hit the tractor’s tire but was not ready for what was going to happened next… The combination of the size of the tractor’s tyre and the grip of it’s tread through my TVR onto two wheels and I overtook the tractor like a 007 stunt with the oncoming BMW flashing past me. I travelled for what must have been some 200m on two wheels at over 70mph before managing to bring the car back down onto all four wheels with a clunk.

We were alive and my car was still rolling on all four’s! Both myself and my friend were ok and the car was still a driver all be it that it had split it’s radiator during the accident. I hit the breaks and we soon came to a stop.

The tractor driver was laughing and told us that our TVR was his dream car and he spent the next hour looking at it as I repaired the radiator with duck tape so that we could continue to the show.

I spent the next 2 years fully restoring my TVR 350i and this gained me many new skills including the fabrication of fibreglass.

During this time I was to purchase many different cars…

Firstly a 1993 Mazda RX-7 FD3S R1. This car satisfied me and my need to drift around every corner and I spent thousands tuning the car to handle how I wanted but the engine reliability soon got the better of me. After three engine rebuilds and only 28k miles of ownership over eighteen months I decided to move on. I next purchased a Nissan Skyline R33 GT-R but got board after two months so next was a Nissan Pulsar GTiR which I loved but I got through two clutches in the space of 4K miles so I got ride of that.

With rear wheel drive cars at the top of my list I next went for a Honda NSX which looked great and ticked all the right boxes for me on paper. Again I spent £££$$$ on this car but it just under-steered like a dog (drive-by-wire) so that experience was sort lived.

I then went back to TVR’s and had several Griffith’s, Chimera’s and two Cerbera’s including a 4.5 Redrose but after owning the Mazda RX-7 they just did not offer the drive that I wanted.

So what next… Well there was only one thing for me next and that was Lotus ownership. I first purchased a 1991 Lotus Elan SE Turbo and I fell in love all over again. The Elan is a front wheel drive car but was so neutral to drive. I could drive this car how I wanted and it would always respect me and deliver adrenaline by the bucket load. Hell I have always read about how good a Lotus chassis was but this brought a different dimension to handling… I was hooked by Lotus and soon purchased a second one for my collection in the form of an S1 Exige – God this was great … Better still the best experience a driver can have with four wheels but as every petrol head knows you just have to move on… Enter Porsche ownership!

ENTER MY LIFE AS A PORSCHE OWNER ... TO BE AN OWNER FOR LIFE!

I’d never thought about Porsche ownership and lots of my friend have Ferrari’s (lucky them)  and a few friends have BMW M3’s (E46). One friend in particulate had a brand new BMW M3 CSL… His farther is one of the richest men in the world (from RUSSIA) and Leo Machitsky the owner of the CSL last year won the European GT3 championship in his Aston Martin DBR9 prepared by Barwell Motorsport.

I drove his BMW E46 M3 CSL and can confirm that this is better than any Porsche that I have driven including 993 GT2’s and even the latest 997 (both I have driven on track) – Many of you will disagree but the BMW M3 CSL is one hell of a car – go drive it if you do not believe me!!!

But me being different in two aspect’s… No.1 I can not afford a BMW CSL and No.2 I also can not afford a 993 GT2 or 997 - I started looking at the Porsche marquee and what I could afford.

German cars were some what new to me and after the radical designs of my previous TVR’s and my love-hate relationship with the Mazda RX-7 FD3S I was some what confused... so what next.

Another friend of mine purchased a Porsche 968CS and offered me a drive… I was hooked… This was everything I ever wanted from a car and a 968CS it must be. But after looking at several and 968CS’s and  also doing my research on the internet (welcome Rennlist)  the Porsche 944 Turbo 951 or 952 as it is known in the UK raised it’s head.

I have always preferred forced induction over N/A cars due to the performance that can be achieved from them so quickly started to arrange test drives.

On the face of it the 951 was a slow dog compared to other cars I have driven but that can be easily addressed as I knew from my previous Mazda RX-7 FD3S and Honda NSX ownership.

So I hatched a plan… I’d buy a 951/2 for as little as possible and do to it what I wanted…

My first drive of a Porsche 944 turbo was a Sliver Rose which had not been looked after very well. I was not looking for full service history, originality or condition of the car as all of these issues can be addressed from a car of this age. The car drove better then expected and to the point where the owner asked me to pull over due to the speed and extreme punishment I was putting the car through (sideways I must add).

I felt that the Porsche 951/2 was a better balanced car than the 968CS’s that I had previously driven. I put this down to the added weight of the 6 speed gear box of the 968 which I felt was to closely geared and a waste of time if you ask me.

So that was it… I was Porsche hooked and now had to find the right 951/2 for me.

I wanted a car which was well looked after but at the same time as cheap as possible and it had to be red in keeping with the 1980’s look.

An auction came up at Universal Salvage for classic car’s and when I looked at there website they had a light front damaged 952  (944 Turbo) which had recently undergone a full restoration… This was the car for me!

The car had light damage to it’s near side but everything else was of excellent condition so I purchased it for £1,200.00 (BARGIN)

Within two weeks I had the car sorted, fully repainted and looking like new.

I drove the car for two weeks before realising the cars plusses and weaknesses.

Enter the modifications.

SO WHAT NOW OF MY NEW PORSCHE...

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